joe-riggs-bellator-106 UFC welterweight Joe Riggs (40-14 MMA, 4-4 UFC) was involved in a gun accident with non-life threatening injuries and has been forced to withdraw from a bout with Paulo Thiago (15-7 MMA, 5-7 UFC) at UFC Fight 51, two sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to MMAjunkie on Tuesday.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the incident. However, UFC officials subsequently released a statement saying Riggs was cleaning a pistol in his Arizona home when it discharged and wounded him in the hand and leg.
“Riggs was transported to a nearby hospital in Arizona where he is being treated by physicians,” a UFC statement read. “We wish Joe a speedy recovery.”
Riggs did not respond to multiple requests for comment. His coach, John Crouch, also declined to confirm the injury.
UFC Fight Night 51 takes place Sept. 13 at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil. The entire event streams on UFC Fight Pass.
Riggs had stepped in for the injured Mike Rhodes to face Thiago. The promotion will now look to find a replacement, although the official fight card listing at UFC.com, as of Tuesday afternoon, still listed Rhodes as Thiago’s opponent and never was updated to include Riggs.
The news pushes back Riggs’ return to the UFC after an eight-year absence. The 13-year-veteran, who in 2005 fought then-welterweight champ Matt Hughes in a non-title bout, most recently fought under the Bellator banner, where he competed on the first and only season of “Bellator MMA: Fight Master” and won the reality tournament this past November with a decision over Mike Bronzoulis.
Now training out of the MMA Lab in Phoenix, where ex-UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson also works, Riggs has won his past six bouts.
With the change, the latest UFC Fight Night 51 card now includes:
  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Antonio Silva
  • Piotr Hallman vs. Gleison Tibau
  • Dashon Johnson vs. Godofredo Pepey
  • Lukasz Sajewski vs. Leonardo Santos
  • Sergio Moraes vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
  • Paulo Thiago vs. TBA
  • Igor Araujo vs. George Sullivan
  • Jessica Andrade vs. Valerie Letourneau
  • Efrain Escudero vs. Francisco Trinaldo
  • Johnny Bedford vs. Rani Yahya
For more on UFC Fight Night 51, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.